Besiktas vs Arsenal: A profile of Arsenal's Champions League play-off opponents

The Gunners are in Turkey for tonight's first leg

Arsenal face Turkish opposition in the qualifying round of the Champions League for the second consecutive season, as they dispatched Fenerbache at the same stage last term.  However, the Gunners face a different prospect this time around, with Slaven Bilic's Besiktas standing in their way.

The Turkish side finished third in the Süper Lig last season, but have benefited from Turkish champions Fenerbahce’s exclusion from European competitions over corruption, which has meant Besiktas enter the qualifying stage at a later round. Besiktas impressed in the third qualifying round victory over Feyenoord, winning both legs with an aggregate of 5-2 and will be no pushovers when they meet Arsene Wenger’s men.

Read more: Did Wenger make a mistake not signing Fabregas?
Arsenal interested in Rabiot
Ramsey reminds Arteta of Fabregas

Arsenal are no stranger to Besiktas’ dangerman. Having let go of last season’s highest scorers, Moussa Sow and Hugo Almeida, Bilic’s side will be looking to new signing Demba Ba to fire in the goals. After a successful period at Newcastle, in which the Senegalese scored 29 goals in 58 appearances, Ba saw his career stagnated when he signed for Chelsea. Opportunities were few and far between but he still managed a respectable 14 goals in 23 starts, including crucial strikes against Liverpool and PSG last season. Never truly trusted by Jose Mourinho though, Ba will be relishing a reunion against Premier League opposition as he looks to reignite his career in Turkey. With a point to prove, Ba got off to the perfect start as he hit the ground running with a hat-trick in only his second game for Besiktas.

Read more: Wenger wary of Besiktas threat
How Bilic won over the fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal match preview

In addition to Ba, there are two other familiar faces in Besiktas’ ranks, Turkish internationals Oguzhan Ozyakup, a product of Arsenal’s youth academy, and Kerim Frei, who used to ply his trade for Fulham. Others that pose a threat are striker Mustafa Pektemek, midfielder Atiba Hutchinson and youngster Gokhan Tore, with the Turkish side possessing an arsenal to hurt the Gunners.

 

Besiktas’ shining moment in the Champions League came when they reached the quarter finals in 1987, however in their last five campaigns, they have failed to get out of the group stage, with the last time they competed in the competition being the 2009/10 campaign. The Turkish side have played 66 Champions League games, winning 22, drawing 12 and losing 32 of them. They have enjoyed mixed fortunes against Premier League sides. In 14 games against English opposition, they have won just four, drawing three and losing the other seven. Undoubtedly their most famous victory came at Old Trafford in 2009, when they ended Manchester United’s 23 match unbeaten run by winning 1-0. However, they have been on the receiving end of crushing defeats, losing 8-0 to Liverpool in 2007 and 6-0 to Leeds in 2000.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world